A lot more goes into getting a book published than just the researching, writing and editing. I’m only finding out now exactly how much of a second job it is to get the last four years of research into the hands of readers. I finished the first draft of the manuscript in September and have been consumed in the process of typesetting, photo editing and editorial curating since then. All the while the actual text moved like a pingpong ball through different departments and editors at Harper Collins. Consider it gestation.And then, yesterday afternoon “The Red Market” took its first baby steps into the world of becoming a real, live, book.  As you can see in the picture below newborn books are not delivered by storks but by UPS men in large brown trucks.

Seemingly innocuous, it could have just been another order from Amazon.  But . . .

Lo and behold, it was a package full of galleys. Ten of them bound and ready for distribution to any media company interested in writing a review or booking a speaking engagement.

Galleys are interesting because the represent an intermediate stage in the publishing process between the final hard-cover product that hits the bookstores and the original draft that I submitted to my editor. They look and feel almost like a book at first glance. But on closer inspection the bindings are loose and the paper stock is pretty flimsy. The text itself is still riddled with small typographical errors, a few awkward sentences and some passages that will likely get cut once the Harper Collins legal team goes over it with a red pen. But they’re typeset more or less correctly and the interior illustrations come through well.

They serve one simple purpose: to drum up excitement for the book before the official launch on May 31st.  With a total run of about 150 copies the publicist at Harper Collins will send them out to reviewers and influential people who might be able to get other people interested in reading it once it comes out. Sure, they’re not getting a perfect first edition, but as a galley they get a sneak peek into what will hopefully be an interesting read. My agent has said that at this point they’re more precious than gold–probably not technically true. I’m more than willing to send you one in return for a couple ounces of gold–and I’m not supposed to send them out to friends and family. No, these are destined for a higher purpose. Most likely that means I’ll send all but one or two of them back to my agent so she can find the exact right folks.